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I have a floppy disk or 2 that I'd like to keep for a long time, and frankly I'm amazed that they've lasted this long. I'd like to make a copy on the hard disk that I can use to recreate the floppy if need be. For CDs they have the ISO format, is there anything similar for floppy disks?

If I were using Linux I'd probably try to use dd to copy all of the disk blocks, but I'm using Windows. Thanks.

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Don't forget to email yourself the tiny iso you create. –  Preet Sangha Jun 8 '09 at 5:29

5 Answers 5

Get a copy of rawrite. It creates an image that can be written back to media using dd (or, of course, rawrite).

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Check out the link in my answer... FreeBSD moved from rawrite to fdimage a while ago because fdimage is a bit nicer (doesn't require a separate formatting operation, at least). –  chaos Jun 8 '09 at 5:04
    
Nice to see that this has been ported to Windows proper, although I'm not afraid to use the command prompt. Thanks. –  Mark Ransom Jun 8 '09 at 5:18
    
Cool. I wasn't aware of fdimage, but then again, the last time I had to even use rawrite 'in anger' was about 13-14 years ago with Slackware Linux. I've archived many floppys since, but never actually had to restore any (to media, at least). Which is actually a good thing, since I don't appear to have a floppy drive any more... –  Gavin McTaggart Jun 8 '09 at 5:31
    
@Gavin: most VM solutions come with as many (virtual) floppy drives you ever want to have, no? :) –  David Schmitt Jun 8 '09 at 7:07
    
@David: True, but I haven't had to restore an image back to media for a long, long time. I have definitely mounted images as file-systems and to VMs though. –  Gavin McTaggart Jun 8 '09 at 7:26

If anything ever achieved the status with respect to floppy images that ISO has with respect to CDs, I never heard of it. It's pretty much down to however particular imaging software works, though naturally a straight dd-style image is popular. I'd recommend using the fdimage utility that FreeBSD uses for its install .flp files; at minimum you can be pretty confident you'll always be able to locate it easily for download.

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Great resource, a lot of info in the link. Thanks. –  Mark Ransom Jun 8 '09 at 5:19

MagicISO does this flawlessly. There's even a tutorial to show you how easy it is to do. MagicISO is also really handy when it comes to CD/DVD images (as the name implies).

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Looks like a great app, especially if you're already doing a lot of CD work. But I'm not. –  Mark Ransom Jun 8 '09 at 5:21

(Edit: I know you're under Windows, but I wrote this for completeness)

Real men use cat(1) instead of dd(1) ;-)

cat /dev/fd0 > floppy.img

Remember that under Linux you can always use your floppy image without resorting to fossil media

mkdir /mnt/floppy; mount -oloop floppy.img /mnt/floppy
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It never occurred to me that cat would work. I agree that the *nix solution belongs here for completeness - thanks! –  Mark Ransom Jun 8 '09 at 14:46

I've used DiskFactory32 since the days of Windows 95/NT4. It was a shareware program written by Mark McGinty, but it unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the net. Download links lead you round in circles, and the domain name now tries to sell you CDs and DVDs. I still have an installer for v3, but I don't know if it's legal to post for download. Shout if you think need it and I'll see what I can do.

DiskFactory was a floppy disk imaging utility which created a .DFI (Disk Factory Image) image file of a floppy disk, or you could directly copy disk-to-disk. It was a true sector-based copy and could successfully read passed bad sectors and even physical damage. The only limitation compared to ISO images was that you could not mount a DFI image.

As suggested by David Schmitt, you could always do it via a virtual machine. Most (all?) virtualization tools will allow you to use an image as a virtual floppy disk. Just archive the floppy image once you've copied to it.

On the other hand, I'd don't see the point of archiving floppy images (except perhaps for nostalgic reasons) since floppy disks themselves are quickly becoming history. See this article on Ars Technica. Surely the contents are sufficient?

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Not if the disk has fancy boot sector info on it, that doesn't get preserved when doing a file copy. –  Mark Henderson Jun 22 '10 at 11:25
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Fair enough, but with the fact that floppy disks are quickly becoming extinct, what will anyone do with that boot sector info? Side note: We in South Africa are evidently the only people to call the 3 1/2" disk a "stiffy" - see note (4) on Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy_disk) –  Nicolas Jun 22 '10 at 13:15
    
One of the floppies I want to archive is the install disk of a piece of software, which is required to install an upgrade of the same software. The contents alone are not sufficient unless I can coerce those contents onto drive A:. –  Mark Ransom Jul 28 '10 at 3:42

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